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John Mackey and Whole Foods Invest in Cultured Meat Startup, Sweetgreen to IPO + More

Source: Emily Shur / Inc [Official] Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and…

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    Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to. Here are some of this week’s top headlines. Sweetgreen is preparing to IPO this year, following a $156 million investment round it closed in January that valued the company at $1.78 billion. The emerging MAGA faction of the political constituency, has given rise to a number of right-wing coffee shops across America that are all taking aim at Starbucks. Meanwhile, fast food brands are piloting reusable containers. In plant-based news, Whole Foods founder John Mackey has invested in Upside Foods, formerly Memphis Meats, and Oatly expects to raise as much as $1.65 billion in its IPO. Motif Foodworks has gained exclusive commercial rights to extrudable fat technology, which replicates animal fat, and prolamin technology, which allows plant-based cheese to melt and stretch like animal-derived dairy. OsomeFoods has developed the world’s first plant-based hard boiled egg. Our newsletter takes a lot of time and resources to produce. Make a one time or monthly contribution to help us keep it going. Whether it’s $5 or $500, every bit helps and shows us that you value our work. 
Check out our weekly round-up of last week’s top food startup, tech and innovation news below or peruse the full newsletter here.

1. Salad Chain Sweetgreen Is Planning a US IPO This YearBloomberg

The company raised $156m from Durable Capital Partners in January, valuing it at $1.78b. That followed a $150m funding round in 2019.

2. Right-Wing Coffee Companies Want to Make Coffee Great Again – Vox

From Conservative Grounds in Florida to Covfefe Coffee in Maine, MAGA wants to come for Starbucks.

3. Whole Foods Founder Mackey Invests in Producer of Cultured MeatBloomberg

Upside Foods, formerly Memphis Meats, received about $500k from Mackey in addition to an undisclosed sum from Whole Foods.

4. Fast Food Brands Look at Reusables to Attempt to Solve Container Waste – AdWeek

Burger King, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons are all launching pilot programs.

5. Oatly Sees Valuation Possibly Over $10 Billion as US IPO Nears – Bloomberg

Oatly expects to raise as much as $1.65b for itself and its investors in an IPO, potentially giving the maker of plant-based food and drink products a total valuation of over $10b.

6. Singapore Manufacturer OsomeFood Says It Has Created the World’s First Plant-Based Hard Boiled Egg – Green Queen

OsomeFood’s product range is made from naturally occurring fungi that undergoes a fermentation process to create mycoprotein that carries the same essential amino acids that are present in meat products.

7. Germany: ‘Clean Meat As a Service’: Plug-and-Play Tech Turns Meat Producers into Cell-Based Pork ProducersFood Navigator

Innocent Meat is making an automated meat production system for industrial meat producers, providing them with bioreactors, cell media and growth factors, and access to smart software.

8. Texas Lawmakers Approve Bill Banning ‘Meat’ and ‘Beef’ from Labels of Plant-Based FoodsThe Hill

The bill will also keep companies that produce food from insects, plants or cell cultures, not slaughtered animals, from using the label “meat,” “pork,” “poultry” or “beef.”

9. Oprah-Backed Apeel Wants to Help Grocers Peer Into ProduceBloomberg

Apeel has acquired ImpactVision, maker of hyperspectral imaging tech, for an undisclosed sum.

10. Target Is Launching a Line of Plant-Based FoodCNN

Good & Gather includes more than 30 foods including vegan spreads, almondmilk creamer, oat milk, plant-based dips and meat and chicken alternatives.

11. Ginkgo Bioworks to Go Public at $15B Valuation As Ag SPAC Frenzy Continues AFN

Ginkgo Bioworks said it will use the capital raised to dramatically increase the scale of its cell-programming tech platform.

12. China Enacts Food Waste Law, Brings in Ban for Binge-Eating & Fines for LeftoversAFN

Consumers can now be fined up to $15.4k for binge-eating videos, and restaurants that consistently waste large amounts of food face fines of up to $7.7k.

13. Chipotle Is Sued by New York City Over Scheduling PracticesNew York Times

The city seeks $150m in relief for employees, accusing the fast-food giant of “complete disregard” of a law governing workweeks.

14. AquaBounty Sells Out First 5T of GE Fish with Harvests to Start in MayUndercurrent News

The forthcoming harvests and sales will represent the end of a journey to market over three decades in the making.

15. Valmont Acquires Crop Analytics Startup Prospera for $300MAFN

With Prospera on board, Valmont now claims to be the world’s largest, vertically integrated artificial intelligence company in agriculture.

16. New Guard 2021 – Eater

Meet the inspiring leaders using food to challenge conventions, empower their communities and make positive change.

17. Hunger Rates Plummet After Two Rounds of Stimulus – Politico

Republicans have long sought to shrink government aid, but Democrats see the data as proof that the direct payments are working as intended.

18. Consumers Believe Cell-Based Protein Will Make Up 40% of Their Meat IntakeGreen Queen

Gen Zs were most open to trying cell-based meat, with 88% of respondents saying they would welcome them, while millennials followed closely behind at 76%.

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